Africa: After Zimbabwe Premiere in Autumn, Impact (Ed)'s Shaina Goes On General Release Across Africa

12 February 2021

London — Impact (Ed) International specializes in telling gripping stories that have something to tell their viewers. This time the film Shaina, set in Zimbabwe, is about the perils and pleasures of relationships for young people. Russell Southwood talked to Producer Regan Alsup about how the film came to be made and its distribution plans.

Shaina is a feel-good story of a group of Zimbabwean friends facing life-changing obstacles. As they fight to overcome these circumstances, they discover that by believing in themselves they can achieve their dreams.

The film is an ensemble piece focusing on four teenagers - Shine, Stella, Busi and Faro - as they grapple with the loss of loved ones, overdue exam fees, unplanned pregnancy and the curse of 'blessers'. The latter is a form of transactional sex in which older rich men ("blessers") entice young women ("blessees") with money and expensive gifts in exchange for sexual favors. According to producer Regan Alsup, the film is about "friends who start as victims but end as survivors. Together they find the confidence to challenge toxic relationships, the ingenuity to complete school and grow a business, and the courage to find a new life."

The funding for the film came from USAID out of its My Health, My Life (MHML) Activity, a USAID/Zimbabwe-supported initiative, which "will create a movement that breaks down message fatigue barriers around complex, intertwined health issues challenging adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Zimbabwe." But the makers Impacted(Ed) International specialize in taking educational themes and turning them into real, 'living and breathing' stories. Indeed the characters, script and early cut were all road-tested with potential audiences in Zimbabwe.

"It was too expensive to film in Zimbabwe so it was largely shot in South Africa. There were some limited shoots in Zimbabwe to capture some stuff. The soundtrack music is all from some of Zimbabwe's biggest musicians including Freeman and Ammara Brown." The film's budget was US$1.2 million.

Covid-19 has upended the distribution strategy. It has had its premiere on ZBC and it has distributed DVDs to schools, youth clubs and clinics. There has also been a profile-raising campaign with trucks with loudspeakers and leaflets. There has also been a digital campaign on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube with trailers and behind the production shoot material.

According to USAID: "To extend audience engagement and messaging opportunities beyond the film, MHML will create a card game that spurs discussion of sensitive social and health topics, while reinforcing desired behaviors and promoting available services. The card game will be designed with target audience entertainment in mind, increasing the range of interest in and interaction with the MHML initiative".

Unable to do a cinema premiere, Impact(Ed) International ran a YouTube Premiere followed by a Facebook Premiere. The link was left public on both for 48 hours before going unlisted on YouTube. The latter has had 17,000 views to date compared to Facebook's 60 or so views.

"The rest of Africa distribution strategy is getting off the ground. We've just had a TV premiere in Malawi with Luntha TV and we are finalizing broadcast deals across the continent including Nigeria and Kenya." Impacted(Ed) International is looking for TV channels wanting to run the film.

In Brief

The South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has declared that, after many false starts and delays, his government would start the "phased switch-off of the analogue TV transmitters from next month. The president made the declaration during the annual South African "State Of The Union Address (SONA)" during which he also highlighted the updated timeline for progressing with the country's migration plans... Meanwhile the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) is to confirm that while its plan to further and expand changes to the TV Licensing regime for the country, it will now not be including smartphones in the list of devices that would be liable for TV Licence.

IROKO, the Nigerian-based' Nollywood-streaming' company, is according to media reports, looking at going public within the next year by listing on the London Stock Exchange' Alternative Investment Market with the aim to raise between 20 - 30 million US Dollars.

TV Media Sport (TVMS), the free-to-air media rights partner of UEFA in sub-Saharan Africa, has provided the exclusive UEFA EURO 2020 free-to-air media rights to The Standard Group PLC in Kenya.

A new Nigerian subscription-based streaming service, OyaWatch TV has been launched on Red Bee Media's OTT platform. The service comprises of an array of live and on-demand content from all of the biggest international broadcasters and local sources, distributed through Red Bee's Channel Store offering.

The Ivorian studio Afrikatoon returns with its new production, Samory. The 1hour10min-length film takes us back to the 1800s, somewhere in West Africa where the French General Borgnis-Desbordes in his conquest of territories leads his umpteenth battle against the troops of Samory Touré. It describes it as "a true educational work doubled with a playful aspect with characters as charismatic as they are funny, it is a film for all age groups and an excellent way to spend good times with the family".

It's the love story we never knew we needed this Valentine's Day as Bollywood meets Nollywood in the romantic comedy, Namaste Wahala launching on Netflix on 14 February. Namaste Wahala is a feel-good love story about an Indian man who falls in love with a Nigerian woman. The film follows their journey of falling in love and the challenges that they must overcome in order to be together. Expect a whole lot of humour as we bear witness to the cultural differences between the two families. Directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, Namaste Wahala is so much more than just an unforgettable love story between Didi and Raj. The film is packed with family drama, Indian style dance sequences and a soundtrack that will turn your romantic movie night into a dance party.

More From: Balancing Act

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.